The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is groping in the dark on how to overcome the crisis arising out of the termination of 2,107 empanelled drivers as ordered by the High Court and upheld by the Supreme Court.
The retrenchment of the 1,479 empanelled drivers in Thiruvananthapuram, 257 of the central and 371 in north zone that came into effect from Sunday will hit 500 services. The KSRTC has not made any alternative arrangements to rope in drivers to operate the fleet.
The Division Bench of the High Court, on a petition by the association of rank holders, had ruled that empanelled drivers could not continue beyond 180 days and that the vacancies existing beyond that period should be filled from the rank list prepared by the a Public Service Commission (PSC).
But, there is no live list of the PSC for recruitment of drivers. Taking the needed personnel through employment exchange will take a minimum of six months.
“The services are not affected on Sunday. We cant comment on the status on Monday as the services of the 2,107 empanelled drivers will not be available,” a top KSRTC official said.
The KSRTC cancelled 40% of the schedules on Sunday compared to the 30% it does on Sundays and had asked the unit officers to go for single duty for the bus crew to make available the maximum drivers on Monday, sources said.
The way before the KSRTC is to take retrenched drivers on an informal basis on daily wages.
A decision on overcoming the shortage of drivers will be taken after indisposed Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran and Chairman and Managing Director M.P. Dinesh resume office.
The KSRTC has already commenced roping in retired drivers. The Zonal Executive Directors have authorised all unit officers to hire retired KSRTC drivers who have not crossed 60 years. The KSRTC is also encouraging those who had figured on the last PSC list for drivers, but was not advised, if they have valid documents.
With the retrenchment of 2,107 empanelled drivers, 9,230 personnel from various wings have been terminated from the KSRTC since the present government came to power.